Cellphone disruptions disrespectful, inconsiderate

Anthony Goreczny, Staff Writer

Smart phones like the iPhone and Android devices are both continuing to increase the power and capabilities of their handsets.  The competing platforms are looking for new areas of life to expand and adapt their technology to.  In a recent display of bravado and daring, Apple made its first major foray into classical music when the Philharmonic orchestra yielded the stage to an iPhone’s “Marimba” ringtone during a performance of Gustav Mahler’s Ninth Symphony.

According to a CNN report, an audience member’s iPhone  rang continuously for approximately four minutes while the orchestra was performing.  Conductor Alan Gilbert lowered his arms when he came to the last page of the final movement, which informed the musicians to stop playing.  He politely turned to the man whose iPhone was ringing  and asked, “Are you finished?”

The man apparently didn’t react, and Gilbert responded by setting down his baton and stating “Fine, we’ll wait.”  The phone was quickly silenced and the conductor apologized to the crowd, to which the audience reply with raucous applause.

In a later report by CBS, it is revealed that the patron whose was to blame for the noise had switched from Blackberry to iPhone the day before and was unfamiliar with the functions. Though he silenced his phone before the performance, he was not aware that an accidentally-set alarm would not be silenced along with the ringtone.  When contacted by the Philharmonic, the patron, who wishes to remain anonymous, asked to speak with Gilbert.  He apologized for the incident and Gilbert accepted his apology.

This patron is not entirely at fault for the incident, but he could have been more careful.  However, even though many of these incidents are preventable accidents,  there are people who unceremoniously ignore the cellphone policies of an establishment.  One particular incident involved an unruly movie-goer and the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas.

According CNET, the movie theater is know for its strict policies against talking and texting. When a young female customer refused to cease texting after two polite warnings, she was removed from the show without a refund, in accordance with the the theater’s policies that were clearly visible and had been mentioned onscreen before the show.

The inconsiderate patron then proceeded to leave an enlightening voice mail at the the theater that demonstrated her expansive vocabulary, grasp of the English language, and legal expertise.  In fact, the Alamo Drafthouse liked the message so much that it became the basis for their next PSA regarding texting during the shows.

Obvious signs of disrespect like this do not belong in the realm of the arts.  Just because a person is paying for something does mean he has the ability to act however he likes.  Other people in the audience payed for the event as well, and each person has the same right as any other to enjoy it.  When the Alamo Drafthouse ejected the stubborn texter, they were doing a service to every other person in that theatre.

While I understand that there may be emergency situations, there is little excuse for a cellphone interrupting a beautiful symphony or blatantly disregarding a clearly defined rule.  There are very few situations in which being disconnected with the world for one or two hours will have drastic negative effects on ones life.

Personally, when I enter a movie theater or show I turn my cell phone completely off unless I need it for a singular reason.  I do this specifically to both escape the constant stream of modern life that comes rushing through my phone, and also to avoid the embarrassment of finding myself in a situation like that of the man at the symphony.

In the end, all the texter accomplished was paying for a movie she didn’t watch and embarrassing herself with an uncouth voicemail turned against her.  This person and many others need to evaluate the level of respect they have for others.  Many people are far too inconsiderate and find fault with everyone but themselves.  I do not despise them, but I do pity them.  They complain about all the problems in their lives, yet most of their problems are created by themselves out of ignorance, incompetence, or impudence.